Yadier Molina returning to St. Louis Cardinals for what will be catcher's 'final season' in 2022

Yadier Molina has agreed to a one-year extension with the St. Louis Cardinals, with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak indicating it will be the All-Star catcher's final year with his longtime team.

Sources told ESPN the deal is worth $10 million, confirming a report by The Athletic.

"We are pleased to announce that Yadi has agreed to cement his career legacy with the Cardinals for a final season in 2022," Mozeliak said in a statement on Tuesday. "His experience, leadership, work ethic and winning desire are all part of what we value as an organization."

Molina, 39, has spent his entire career (2,119 games over 18 seasons) with the Cardinals, including 2,080 games behind the plate -- the most of any catcher for one team. The only two players to play more games in a Cardinals uniform are Hall of Famers Stan Musial (3,026) and Lou Brock (2,289).

"I'm so happy, so happy," Molina told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of the extension before Tuesday night's series opener against Detroit.

A 10-time All-Star, Molina broke into the majors with the Cardinals in 2004 and never left, helping lead the team to four National League pennants and two World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He was selected by St. Louis in the fourth round of the 2000 amateur draft. The Bayamon, Puerto Rico, native is a .280 hitter with 168 homers and 983 RBIs heading into Tuesday's game. He has 2,089 hits and 397 doubles and is a nine-time Gold Glove winner.

Molina entered Tuesday batting .259 with a .304 on-base percentage, a .376 slugging percentage, eight homers and 51 RBIs in 94 games this season, spending just under 750 innings behind the plate.

"On behalf of the Cardinals and our fans, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Yadier Molina will continue his franchise legacy for another season in 2022,'' Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement. "Yadi has continued to play at an All-Star level this season, and has already established himself among the greatest players to have ever worn the birds on the bat.''

Molina was a free agent this offseason for the first time in his career but signed a one-year, $9 million deal in February to return to the Cardinals. He said earlier this month he did not want to go into free agency again and would like to get something done with St. Louis.

Molina and Adam Wainwright have paired up for 298 games, ranking fourth in major league history in games started as batterymates.

The catcher has continually shined in the playoffs, too -- he is the active major league leader in postseason games played and hits (both 101). The games played total ranks first in NL history and sixth in the majors.

Among major league catchers, Molina is fourth in games caught (2,080) and starts at catcher (2,014), fifth in innings caught (17,441⅔), fourth in pickoffs (52), second in putouts (14,446) and total chances (15,551) and 10th in caught stealing percentage (40.4%).

He got his 2,000th hit last September -- the 11th primary catcher to reach the milestone -- and earlier this month surpassed Albert Pujols for fourth on the Cardinals' hits list.

Molina was the recipient of the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award, MLB's highest service-based honor. Molina's off-the-field philanthropic efforts include Foundation 4, a charity that helps underprivileged children in Puerto Rico. Molina raised more than $800,000 in relief funds following Hurricane Maria in 2017. He was also voted the 2015 Darryl Kile Award recipient by his teammates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.